Businesses, locals react to state’s new COVID-19 safety standards

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the coronavirus is winning in our state and in order to battle the virus, she is cracking down on businesses and focusing on the places that are causing the most problems. With the spike in COVID-19 cases, the state wants to mitigate and track where the problems are coming from, so they’re rolling out a new strategy.

“There’s a lot of changes every week, something new happens,” said La Placita employee Joseph Marchbanks.

Even for an established business like La Placita restaurant in Old Town, it’s been tough handling the ups and downs due to the pandemic. But because New Mexico is now one of the worst states in the nation for our spread rate, the state is taking even more action.

“We’re not in a good place right now, we’re trending poorly and we have the ability to do something about that,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham in a Tuesday COVID-19 news conference.

Starting Friday, the state is implementing new procedures for businesses. Places like breweries and restaurants will have to complete the state’s COVID-safe training by the end of the month to stay open. Dozens of places around the state have already voluntarily completed that before Tuesday, but they’ll also have to start spot testing employees and keep logs of dine-in customers for contact tracing purposes.

“I think it is a good idea,” said Marchbanks. “[But] it will be hard to do because not everyone wants to give out their information and stuff like that, you know?”

Some people have mixed thoughts about what they’re being asked to do. “I get why they want to track but that’s a little too far,” said Patrick Baca.

“It helps keeps track of the option whether or not to go get tested if obviously somebody was to go get tested or not but at the same time if you were worried about it, like me for example, if I was worried about it, I wouldn’t be going out to eat if that was the case,” said Derek Locey.

Also, if a business records four rapid responses in a two week period, that business must close for 14 days. The state will start publishing a Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist of places that have had a high number of rapid responses. Also starting Friday, all retail stores, including big box stores and grocery stores, will have to close by 10 p.m.; that does not include pharmacies.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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